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Eight of Japan’s 10 major private-sector think tanks predict the nation’s economy will shrink between 0.3 percent and 1.2 percent in fiscal 2002, painting a bleaker picture than the government’s earlier forecast of zero percent growth.

The Sumitomo-Life Research Institute is the most pessimistic, anticipating a 1.2 percent contraction — measured in terms of gross domestic product — for the year starting April 1. The Industrial Bank of Japan predicts a 0.3 percent shrinkage of inflation-adjusted GDP.

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